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Provost appoints academic planner for proposed School of International Affairs

Meghan Thomassen | Thursday, July 25, 2013

Notre Dame advanced its intent to open a School of International Affairs by appointing Dr. Scott Appleby, a history professor and director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, as its director of academic planning, according to a University press release.

A working group of administrators recently concluded that a School of International Affairs would complement Notre Dame’s currently available academic options, according to the press release. The University has not founded a new college since establishing the Mendoza College of Business in 1921.

Notre Dame Provost Thomas Burish named Appleby director of academic planning for the School of International Affairs, effective Aug. 1. Appleby will lead discussions with faculty, assess fundraising possibilities and explore potential curricula.

“[Appleby’s] vast global experience, administrative acumen and high standards of excellence make him an ideal candidate to lead our collective examination of if and how to establish a new school devoted to internationalism,” Burish said in the press release.

Appleby, a member of the Class of 1978, said as he develops plans for the School, he will consult with the directors and faculty of Notre Dame’s international institutes and the University’s other experts in international affairs.

“My question to these potential constituencies of the School will be, ‘How could a new School enhance your capacity and advance your unit’s mission?'” Appleby said. “Our hope is to build consensus for a School that will strengthen Notre Dame’s global and international engagement.”

Appleby said the School might offer a master’s program and the College of Arts and Letters might offer a new undergraduate major in collaboration with the School.

“The possibility of offering joint graduate degrees is also attractive, and this requires careful thought and planning,” he said. “All of this raises the central question of faculty teaching assignments and the need to hire new faculty in areas where the University is not currently deep.”

The planning committee for the School believes that governmental and nongovernmental employers would want to hire graduates trained to analyze global challenges comprehensively, Appleby said. These graduates of the School would consider economic development, peaceful resolution of deadly conflicts, human rights violations and environmental deterioration.

“Our graduates must know a good deal about more than one subject,” Appleby said. “How is deadly conflict related to climate change? How can respect for human rights and international law trigger economic growth?”

Appleby said the School would be a resource for businesses, educational institutions, civil society organizations and governments that recognize that advancing the human interest as a whole directly benefits them.

“The world is waking up – finally – to the importance of religion, ethics and even spirituality to the just and peaceful transformation of societies,” he said. “Many corporations, philanthropists, schools and governments already know this. Others are gradually joining the parade.”

The Board of Trustees and some faculty members must endorse the School before it can be established, Appleby said.

“A powerful argument for moving ahead is … that the many impressive Notre Dame institutes, initiatives, scholars and students currently engaged in international study and service would receive an enormous boost from a coordinated, well-resourced program of study and research,” Appleby said. “[The program’s] purpose is to elevate Notre Dame’s capacity to place scholarship in service to the larger world.”

Appleby currently leads Contending Modernities, a multi-year, interdisciplinary research and public education initiative at Notre Dame that examines the interactions of Catholic, Muslim and secular forces in the modern world, according to the press release. He will remain director of the Kroc Institute until the current search for a successor is complete.